NFL: Miami Dolphins locker room culture comes under fire as allegations of ‘bullying’ emerge

Jonathan Martin leaves the team after Richie Incognito is suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team

The Miami Dolphins are facing allegations of ‘bullying’ within their locker room this week, following a lunchroom prank that led to one of its players having an ‘emotional breakdown’ and leaving the team.

The two time Super Bowl winning franchise has called for an NFL review following the sudden departure of Offensive Tackle Jonathan Martin, 24, from the team’s facilities last Monday. Martin became the victim of a lunchroom prank when his teammates stood up and moved away as soon as he sat down to eat with them. This subsequently resulted in the player smashing his tray and leaving the facility immediately. The 140kg lineman is expected to be placed on the non-injury football list in the next few days, meaning he is unlikely to return to the team this season.

It soon became obvious that the prank was not the sole reason for Martin’s outburst.  Fox Sports reported that Martin had been subject to ‘persistent teasing and bullying’ since being drafted by the South Florida team in 2012 and he had even discussed the alleged abuse with Head Coach Joe Philbin during the spring.

In recent days, further allegations have emerged whereby Martin is said to have been forced by teammates to fund $15,000 towards a trip to Las Vegas which he didn’t even attend. The Offensive tackle has since filed formal allegations of player misconduct and given the league voicemails and text messages that could aid in the investigation.

On Sunday, Offensive Lineman Richie Incognito, 30, was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins for conduct detrimental to the team. Incognito has been placed at the centre of the allegations, which he denies strenuously, and according to sources; he was the ‘ring leader’ of the abuse on Martin, despite being a member of Miami’s six player leadership council.

Transcripts from some of the voicemails Martin handed into the league show Incognito threatening Martin with profane language and racial slurs. As reported by ESPN, one of the messages left by Incognito for Martin back in the spring, states: "Hey, wassup, you half ****** piece of ****. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] **** in your ******* mouth. [I'm going to] slap your ******* mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. **** you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

In a statement released by the Dolphins organisation, it stated: ‘We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another’.

The fallout of the bullying scandal has unearthed other related issues within the Dolphins organisation. The Miami Herald reported on one player to be going broke due to the pressures of having to pay for veteran teammates and that the younger players are being 'used like an ATM'. Pictures on twitter also emerged over the weekend showing a dinner costing $30,000, being left to the rookies (first year players) of the team to pay for. Although the rookie dinner is an annual event for every NFL team, the pictures uploaded onto the social media site have come at a bad time for Miami following the bullying accusations.

The lengthy NFL review that will examine these revelations will not only aim to expose any bullying culture within the Dolphins locker room, but it may subsequently lead to the exposure of other similar incidents elsewhere in the league.

Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely  

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Specialist - Document Management

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A leading provider of document ...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Secretary

£17000 - £17800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to work ...

Recruitment Genius: Ad Ops Manager - Up to £55K + great benefits

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a digital speci...

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent